Featherston's article on the Main Page is a must read for all of us who sometimes get down on the team, particularly, after a loss or when it appears that the season is not meeting our expectations. He provides a terrific comparison with other top teams and coaches and shows how difficult it is to maintain a place at the top over the years.
I also liked his discussions of his selections for All ACC teams, including his defense against the perception by many that there is a Carolina bias in these selections. As part of this discussion, he pointed out a couple of occasions where the ACC selection didn't follow the national honors supposedly proving his case (e.g. Dixon over JWill for ACC POY while JWill won national honors). Al did not address a couple of points. First, I suspect that some writers may pick based on just ACC stats and second, and most important, Duke (and JWill in that instance) has a huge advantage on the national level because nearly every Devils' game is televised, many of them nationally.
I, for one, really appreciate Al's articles even if there are areas where I disagree.
I completely agree with Featherston's article, and I have echoed his thoughts repeatedly to my fellow Duke fans. As Duke fans we have become spoiled, so it's important to keep in perspective the difficulty of acheiving consistent success in college hoops. Each year have had success during the regular season (this year included), each year we have had success in the ACC Tourney, and each year we have achieved some success in the Big Dance.
It's easy to be an armchair coach and critique K. But K is the experienced professional who has acheived unparalled success, so I tend to just sit back and let him do what he does.
Featherston makes another very interesting point, which I have noted on my own during the past decade: Duke hasnít lost to a non-Final Four team in NCAA play since 1997, when the Devils fell to Providence in Charlotte, who lost in the Elite Eight (a game I clearly remember). In other words, when we do lose early in tourneys (if you consider the Sweet 16 early), it isn't to fluky teams.
While this Duke season certainly isn't vintage Duke, it is still a very successful season. In fact, I doubt any other coach in the country would have had the same level of success with this young team as K has had.
Bring on the BabyBlues!!!
Agreed. Thanks, Al for putting it in perspective as you always do so well.
This has been a really fun year. We've seen this team grow, struggle, succeed, fail at times but always always always they fight hard, and that's all you can really ask. This is a young team, and the lessons learned this year will serve us well next year.
Let's take a moment to appreciate just what a well-written article it is. Insightful, wise and pithy. Terrific stuff. Thanks, Al!
A very, very good article. A must read for all posters and lurkers.
I am supposedly working so I didn't go back through the years, but the fact that most of the teams that beat us go on to the final 4 may not be that impressive due to the fact that 1) they generally reach the final 4 by beating us or have 1 game to win to make it. 2) in the last decade or so we have been the juggernaut and as a result the winning team probably does not have to play a 1 seed to reach the final 4....of course if we were the #1 seed they were probably the 4 or 5 and would have to play the 2 or 3 in the elite 8 so they may not be necessarily favored in the game, but still better than potentially playing a #1 seed since I think there is often separation between a few of the #1 seeds and the rest of the teams in a given year.
The fact that so many go on to win the championship game or play in the championship game is impressive...someone want to do a statistical run.
sounds like a senior thesis idea...
p.s. great article
Just to chime in with Featherson - just how close are we to the top?
Despite the youth of the team - we have played consistently well. FSU, Va Tech, and VA - all of these that we could have and should have won. All of them went down to the wire. What if we had won those games?
Answer: we would be 11-4 25-5, top 5 in the country, and leading the ACC. And this against the toughest ACC schedule. I don't mean to play a "what if" game - just pointing out how close we really are. Those close games usually go to experienced teams. We are not all there yet.
That article is outstanding. Kudos to DBR for bringing such outstanding content to us. Kudos to Al for writing such insightful, well articulated pieces.
Featherston is a thinking person's sportswriter. Not many of those around these days.
This does not really pertain to Al's point, as both players in question were tobacco road players, but Joe Forte tied Shane Battier for ACC POY in 2001, this despite the fact that Shane went on to win (all?) major national POY honors later that season.
P.S. Nice job, Al! Keep up the good work!
Last edited by 91_92_01_10; 03-02-2007 at 01:07 PM. Reason: forgot something
Definitely a great article by Featherston. While there's nothing wrong with objectively pointing out the team's weaknesses (and there are a decent amount), this team is doing extremely well given their age, schedule and tough conference. Call me crazy, but I've had almost as much fun being a fan this season than I did last season, and I was on campus for last year. I guess part of that has to do with the fact that the future looks so bright for this young group and just watching them develop is intriguing in and of itself. Whatever the rest of the season holds, this team has given it everything and for that, I am proud.
Great analyis/article. Thanks. I just emailed it to my Duke '56 sister..
First of all, great article as always from Al. The comparison to other high-profile programs over the recent past vividly demonstrates the point that no program can boast an impeccable consistency in results as far as challenging for the national championship year in and year out. Featherston shows that Duke and K have achieved at levels above virtually every high-profile program and coach in the recent past, notwithstanding the fact that we occasionally fall short of our seeding.
The only part of Al's analysis I take any issue with is using the comparisons from other teams (or even past Duke teams) to reach a conclusion as to whether any given team, such as this year's team, has underachieved (or for that matter, reached or exceeded). In my opinion (FWIW), ideally we should measure a team by its own expectations -- that is, what it should achieve based upon personnel, schedule, etc. -- as opposed to what other teams have achieved or past Duke teams have achieved. Under this standard, it is far easier to accept a loss in the sweet 16 last year than say 2002.
Even looking at it from this perspective, which admittedly is difficult to quantify, it seems to me that Duke and K have been as successful or more so than what would be expected most years (including this year).
I'll be rooting hard next week and hoping to break my personal curse to the team (and the St. Pete/Tampa curse) from 1998 and 1999. GO DEVILS and GTHC!!
The perspective that one derives by comparing our program to other quality basketball programs, is incredible. Thank you for the article.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the article and info. Just great stuff.
Also reinforces my "happiness" at being a Duke and Coach K fan. Just imagine if we were one of any of the other teams. We wouldn't be here, this year, complaining about 7 ACC losses, lower than top-10 rank, etc. Even with this year's team, there's so much to enjoy... and more exciting since there's no "real" expectation of total success.
And, for the ACC tournament, UNC lost in the earlier rounds the same year they won the NC. So, the ACC tournament doesn't necessarily go through UNC this year, I would guess... I think many ACC teams have a chance this year... including Duke. GO DUKE!!!
A great read with "facts" not factoids and mere opinion.
There are a couple of ESPN talking heads who need a copy of that article.
If you were a Russian living in Moscow in 1965 and enjoyed reading Pravada, so be it. It's just that most people living outside of the Iron Curtain might consider you a bit myopic.
If 'ole Al was honest and to wanted eliminate the vitriol associated with comparsions, he could have chosen to make comparsions with Bucky Waters, Neil McGeachy or Harold Bradley.
So who does Al choose as his Exhibit A?
You know "Sweat Gary Sweat", coach of that team that's "Not our rivals".
And then, you wonder why Maryland relishes the opportunity to play Duke?
Last edited by NDMD; 03-03-2007 at 04:00 PM. Reason: grammar
Did you even read the whole article? Do you understand the logic associated with him comparing Coach K with those coaches Mr. Featherston otherwise deems at the pinnacle of their profession. If you don't want Coach Williams included in that conversation, I suppose I can live with that. I think that we are talking about the same Gary Williams that Mr. Featherston states "is one of the best coaches in college basketball" (despite his "annoying paranoia.")
Sorry to see you prove that paranoia point so blatantly, amongst the current Maryland fanbase as well.
Go Devils!!!!!!!! GTHCGTH!!!!!!!!
More to the point, did you read my brief note?
Comparsions are always odious. Featherson could have avoided it by merely comparing K with any number of previous Duke coaches, thus comparing apples with apples without dragging any opposing team or coach, if he had chosen to do so. But he didn't.
And I stand by my first point.
His prime example is "Sweaty" Gary and he then throws in the others as an aside.
Which is his prerogative. But it's something that Maryland fans have long expected from someone spent his entire career hanging out on Tobacco Road.
As for the snide "paranoia" comment, I'm glad to see that so many Duke fans, responding to criticism from various media personalities including ESPN, have handled it in such a cool, objective, and adult fashion.